Violin102 10/4 Year of the Plague

So in my mid-20s as a teacher I had summers off and I had my upstate Roses-Brook Road cabin summers. Wonderful times with J & my bike & building a barn and a cabin. And the pond and the Perlsteins and the Schwartzes & Joe Seif. All about sex and Hobart. But also about the fiddle,

First came the summers when the barn and cabin were built & Seif left. Then came the summers I lived in the beautiful cabin I built with Seif. On the wrong side of the valley. The story about the Perlsteins, the Schwartzes, Joe Seif is substantial & I'll put out a “cabin101” soon.

I was alone with my bike and violin. I was alone except weekends when J would drive up and except for her vacation weeks when she would ravage me, coming up from NYC. Except for those days I would play Bach sonatas & partitas. Over and over again for hours at a time every day. I ended up knowing a couple pages of Bach full speed running off my fingers and bow – crisp and full and musical.

For several years I was a good fiddler. I would play the rolling Bach variations progressing and resolving towards a conclusion. Just running off my bow. So back in the city I had a violin teacher. I knew I'd reached an acceptable plateau when my violin didn't sound like a $100 instrument and my teacher mistook my playing in another room thinking it was his duet partner. Very funny – but it was only a couple pages that I could play full tempo with beautiful modulation up and down.

When I auditioned for the Brooklyn College Orchestra the conductor said “first violin” and I said “second will work out better”. And it did. I did get to a level where I was comfortable playing in positions up and down the neck and in runs. From those several years my hands got strong.

And I played second fiddle for the Doctors Symphony. Wonderful times. After our rehearsals a group of us, including a tall sexy cello player – the way they wrap their legs around the cello and lean into it – so sexy. A group would go out for drinks.

I always had a car – rare in NY – and my job was to chauffeur the orchestra harpist around. Great days. Doctors Symphony did an annual concert series for the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union) at Lincoln Center. Imagine playing on the stage. Tickets were 50 cents & the ladies would avoid sitting up front. Leaving the front seats empty.

I kept a violin at my Marymount Manhattan College office. My approach to the violin (good for the never-to-be professional) was the Montessori method. You keep playing the same piece over and over trying to make it sound musical. The piece I played over and over again was Schubert's Ave Maria (I'm playing Paverotti singing it as I write this). The nuns at MMC loved it....